Thomas works in partnership with psychologists, so that they are trained to administer our assessments and deliver valuable feedback to the rest of the organisation. This approach will enable them to build on their detailed knowledge of the athletes, coaches, sport and organisation so that feedback is unique and based on a high level of relevant content.
There is an intense mental toll of reaching—and remaining—at the pinnacle of a sport. “The top six inches of the body matter just as much the rest,” says Matthew Cunliffe, a sports psychologist, who spoke with Quartz about what goes through the minds of elite athletes and how psychologists can help them win. The conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Most organizations believe that once someone reaches executive or senior status in the organization, they should inherently be able to act under pressure, inspire and implement ideas, keep their skills sharp and current, and have all the answers. In actuality, they can eventually get there on their own but the engagement of a qualified executive coach will exponentially increase not only the time it takes for the executive to get there but also the ability for the executive and the company to sustain the change.
No amount of executive coaching could have alleviated Bernstein’s disorder. Narcissists rarely change their behavior unless they experience extraordinary psychological pain—typically a blow to their self-esteem. The paradox of Bernstein’s circumstance was that working with his executive coach had only served to shield him from pain and enhance his sense of grandiosity, as reflected in the feeling, “I’m so important that the boss paid for a special coach to help me.” Executive coaching further eroded Bernstein’s performance, as often occurs when narcissists avoid the truth.
The demand for executive coaching has experienced rapid growth. Executive coaching is now a multi-billion-dollar industry. All signs indicate that executive coaching is a sound investment. Studies report an impressive ROI of 500-800 percent. A study conducted by MetrixGlobal LLC, for example, reported an ROI of 689 percent associated with executive coaching (and this finding accounted for the entire cost of coaching, including the opportunity costs associated with the time leaders spent not on the job in coaching sessions). Citing similar results, the International Coach Federation (ICF) has presented a body of research demonstrating that coaching tends to generate an ROI of between $4 and $8 for every dollar invested. On the other hand, it’s important to note that Anthony Grant of the University of Sydney claims that too strong of an emphasis on financial returns can result in coaching interventions that increase stress and anxiety. To avoid narrowly focusing on financial returns, it’s important to consider the multitude of tangible and, perhaps more important, intangible benefits of coaching and develop goals accordingly.
Bush has difficulty adhering to his physical therapy regimen after a sports injury; Dr. Banks is able to help him with motivation and consistency in maintaining these appointments and exercises. Bush is also experiencing pain from his injury, and Dr. Banks is able to teach him mental exercises like meditation that will help relieve some of the pain.
With the above in mind, you should first understand that sports psychology is really an interdisciplinary science. Besides psychology, it is also concerned with disciplines such as biomechanics, physiology, and kinesiology. As a definition, the American Psychological Association’s Division 47 (Society of Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology) states the following:
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services recognizes the healing power of hypnosis and its proven effectiveness for anxiety, pain control, smoking cessation, headaches and more. Hypnosis may be safe and complementary way to augment medical attention you are receiving for a chronic illness or pain, or a way to resolve an addiction or phobia that you are otherwise unable to control. Hypnosis does not work on every person. When scientists began studying hypnosis in earnest, a report published by Stanford University titled “The Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale” demonstrated that different brains respond to hypnosis in varying degrees, and a very few do not respond at all. Working with a trained psychologist, you’ll soon determine whether you are a good candidate for the healing benefits of hypnotherapy.
Beans are an excellent source of slow-release carbohydrates, as well as a good source of protein and fiber, which slow the digestive process to help you stay fuller, longer. “Research finds that eating just three-quarters of a cup of beans a day for six weeks can help you lose close to six pounds. And if you’re trying to lower your cholesterol, it’s a double win as the soluble fiber in beans helps whisk cholesterol out of your body,” says Ansel. She also says you don’t necessarily need to cook dry beans from scratch. Canned beans are one of the most underrated convenience foods, so keep a rotation of all kinds - like black, pinto, chickpea and cannellini - in your pantry. Try adding beans to your soups and salads, add them minced to meat dishes, enjoy a bean dip like hummus, or toss them in a salad.
I work with athletes and performers at every level, from novice and recreational to elite and professional, so the situations that I address are constantly evolving, bringing different challenges each day. I may give training to an entire team, meet with an individual client at my office, or observe a client at practice or at a competition. I may speak with their coaches or families; it just depends on what we are trying to accomplish. We work on developing the mental side of their game and performance. This involves building skills in areas such as focus, concentration, motivation, goal-setting, managing intensity, overcoming performance obstacles, stress management, and learning how to perform optimally even under pressure. We also address issues such as performance anxiety, burnout, lack of confidence, recovering from an injury, and handling performance pressures that come when new levels of achievement are attained.
The history of sport psychology began back in the late 19th century, with Norman Triplett. Triplett was a psychology professor at Indiana University during this time, and he conducted research on cyclists. The results of his research showed that the cyclists in his experiments typically performed better when they were riding with others in a group, compared to when they were riding alone. In 1920, the first sport psychology laboratory was founded by Carl Diem in Germany. Coleman Griffith, who worked with athletes from the Chicago Cubs, soon followed suit and founded the first sport psychology laboratory in the United States. It wasn't until 1987, though, that the American Psychological Association created the sport psychology division, Division 47.
Even when coaches adopt a more empirically validated approach than McNulty did, they still tend to fall into the trap of treating the symptoms rather than the disorder. That’s because they typically derive their treatments from behavioral psychology. Of course, behaviorism has been a great boon to psychiatry in recent years. Findings from this discipline have helped people enormously in controlling specific behaviors and learning to cope in particular situations. But treatments derived from behavioral psychology are sometimes too limited to address the problems that disrupt executives’ ability to function.
Executive coaches are at their most dangerous when they win the CEO’s ear. This puts them in a position to wield great power over an entire organization, a scenario that occurs with disturbing frequency. Since many executive coaches were corporate types in prior lives, they connect with CEOs far more readily than most psychotherapists do. They are fluent in business patois, and they move easily from discussions of improving an individual’s performance to conducting interventions that can help entire business units capture or retain market share. Unless these executive coaches have been trained in the dynamics of interpersonal relations, however, they may abuse their power—often without meaning to. Indeed, many coaches gain a Svengali-like hold over both the executives they train and the CEOs they report to, sometimes with disastrous consequences.
9. Power Words: Make positive self-statements continually. Negative thinking is common; everyone has an inner critic. Become aware of these thoughts early on. Don’t fight with them; simply acknowledge their presence, and then substitute positive power words. (e.g., When you’re thinking: “This hurts too much, I want to lay down and die”; say to yourself: “This feeling is connected with getting healthier and doing my absolute best.”)
While it might sound counterintuitive to eat something before you head out to a restaurant or party, showing up famished to the event will likely make it all the harder to stick to your weight loss goals. Eating something small (about 100 calories) with fiber (two to four grams) is a great way to readjust your appetite so you can show up and mingle a bit before diving into the cheese dip. Choose a whole food to take the edge off, like an apple or handful of nuts. For example, 30 pistachios are just 100 calories and offer two grams of fiber, along with protein and healthy fats, to truly take the edge off your appetite while providing a satisfying pre-party crunch. Enjoy your mini snack with a tall glass of water before the festivities to reduce your chances of post-party weight gain.
Much research shows that such capacities are essential personal strengths; certainly important to effective senior leadership. Moreover, studies find that you can grow them with conscious effort. The emotionally detached, un-empathic person, unaware of his or her personal motives or truths is not going to be very effective as a CEO or senior leader. We see examples of the consequences from time-to-time, when a CEO resigns or is fired.
A 2007 study from researchers at the American College of Chest Physicians compared hypnosis to nicotine replacement therapy. Fifty percent of patients who were treated in the hypnotherapy group were still quit at 26 weeks compared to just 15.78 percent in the nicotine replacement group. Patients who underwent NRT and hypnotherapy also experienced a 50-percent success rate at 26 weeks.
It further identified target groups that would benefit from sports psychology, including active amateur and professional athletes; sports teams and leagues, athletes suffering from temporary or permanent injuries; as well as the family members, teammates, coaches and friends of athletes. Finally, the APA identified specific problems and the techniques that could be used to address them, including mental skills training, visualization and motivational techniques, rehabilitation counseling after injuries, stress management, boosting self-confidence, leadership and team-building training, and counseling for eating disorders or substance abuse.
It is used for a wide variety of applications, and studies into its efficacy are often of poor quality which makes it difficult to determine efficacy. Several recent meta-analyses and systematic reviews of the literature on various conditions have concluded that the efficacy of hypnotherapy is "not verified", that there is no evidence or insufficient evidence for efficacy.